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Uber warns it may never make profit

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Uber reportedly plans to sell $10 billion worth of stock in an initial public offering in May.                  Getty Images

The Uber filing gave the first comprehensive financial picture of the ride-hailing and transportation services company.

Uber is expected to make its detailed financial results public on Thursday.

Uber lost $3.03 billion in 2018 from operations.

Global ride-sharing major Uber has warned in its IPO filing that the company may never make profits as its operating expenses are likely to increase "significantly in the foreseeable future".

One advantage Uber will likely seek to play up to investors is that they are the largest player in numerous markets in which it operates. In other parts of the world, Uber also provides discounts to riders and incentives to drivers as competitors like Ola fight for market share. Ridehail-related revenue climbed 33% to $9.2bn for the year.

Seeking to allay market concerns that have hammered Lyft's stock, Uber said it swung to a profit of almost $1 billion last year, up from a $4 billion loss in the year prior, driven largely by the sale of assets connected to Uber's transactions with Grab and Yandex, and an unrealized gain on investments.

In less positive news, Uber revealed in the filing that it has incurred "significant" losses since its inception.

"Investors should be ready for a lot of volatility" in Uber, said Scott Rostan, a former investment banker who is now an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina.

In the end, Uber is widely expected to be the biggest technology IPO since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group went public in 2014.

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Lyft fell as much as 6.1%, to $US58.28 a share, on Friday; the company initially priced its stock at $US72 a share in late March, and opened at $US87.24 a share. It posted revenues of $11.27 million in 2017 according to the filing.

But the prospectus renewed questions about how sustainable Uber's business actually is.

Stateside, the aforementioned Los Angeles strike had participants who drive for both Lyft and Uber.

Uber, however, hasn't disclosed the valuation it is seeking from the public investors. Analysts consider building scale crucial for Uber's business model to become profitable.

The financial documents also show that Travis Kalanick, the former Chief Executive Officer who resigned in 2017 under pressure from the board, is one of Uber's largest shareholders, owning almost 9% of the ride-hailing company's stock.

The ride-hailing company on Thursday filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public offering.

Uber may also have better name recognition, said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh. Polish taxi drivers held up traffic in Monday to call attention to their message that Uber drivers represent unfair competition, reported The Associated Press.

Uber has also said its market share fell in most regions in 2018; however, it claims a more than 65% market share in the United States and Canada, drastically higher than its rival Lyft, which stated 39% in the United States. Drivers will be able to use the bonuses to purchase Uber stock at its IPO price.

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